Quick Bites: Crazy for Quiche

For anyone who actually follows my blog, you know that I tend to be all over the place. I ultimately write about real things that are happening in my life.

Sometimes, my blog is almost too real: thoughtful, and emotional and touching on topics that others might not talk about. That’s when I get in trouble – annoyed voicemails and messages from friends and family, etc. Stern talking-tos from my parents – JUST as terrifying now as when I was 16. That doesn’t happen often because I try to very carefully maintain privacy while writing a very public blog. I’ve learned in the last six months that I’ve been blogging, that someone will always be annoyed and disagree with you on tough topics. Continue reading “Quick Bites: Crazy for Quiche”

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Food for Thought: Krazy for Krispie Treats

For anyone desperate for a last minute treat for the whole family, may I recommend a holiday classic:  no-bake, one-pot, and so, so, tasty!  Of course I’m talking about the amazing and wonderful favorite for kids and adults alike, Rice Krispie Treats.

Let’s pretend that you realized at the last minute that you needed to bring a dessert to your in-laws’ Christmas Eve party. Let’s pretend you didn’t panic hysterically for a good ten minutes. Then, let’s pretend you realized in a stroke of unintentional “mom-genius” that you’d bought all the ingredients necessary to make America’s favorite simple dessert a few days earlier when you saw some fun “Holiday” Rice Krispies as a way to occupy the kids for 15 minutes.  In a total holiday miracle, you are all good!

Rice Krispie Ingredients

As you will learn, I’m all about recipes under five ingredients and this is right up my alley. For one batch, all you need is:

  • 6 cups of Rice Krispies
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • one bag of marshmallows

We doubled the recipe since we needed to serve more than 12 people, but everything still fit in the pot. We actually grabbed the recipe straight off the cereal box or you can find it online here. I admit food inspiration comes from

We followed the recipe exactly as outlined, then laid out the “treats” to cool.

1.) Slowly melt the butter and marshmallows over low heat until smooth.

2.) Turn off the heat and stir in the rice krispies slowly – one cup at a time.

3.) Spread the rice krispies and marshmallow/butter mix into a baking dish. Put buttered (or cooking spray-treated) wax paper under the mix to make clean up easier.  Perfection isn’t critical here. Just spread it as evenly as you can. When you cut the squares, or use cookie cutters to make shapes, you can make them look pretty.

This recipe – from start to finish – took 20 minutes!!!

To add a little holiday flair, I used cookie cut outs to make Christmas trees and snowmen and threw them on the a pretty Christmas plate. Make sure to cut the treats before they have fully hardened. You need them a little soft and sticky still to make clean cuts.

Now, to keep the kids from eating these in the next two hours!

Hope this is helpful to someone else.  It sure saved the day for me.

Food for Thought: Pizza Doughnuts??? No! Really!

I am a recipe queen! I love to cook, bake, fry, etc. BUT I am not creative so I beg, borrow and steal recipes.

This week’s recipe is from a classic site – Pillsbury. I love their website because you can always find a quick, easy recipe with minimal ingredients.  Today, I needed to find a doughnut recipe in a hurry. I promised to bring doughnuts to my 1st grader’s holiday party with the plan of a Dunkin’ Donuts run. Then, in a last-minute check online, I realized that Dunkin’ Donuts isn’t always nut-free and we have some scary allergies in her class.

While slightly insane, I decided that rather than just try something different, I would make the doughnuts instead. Ironically, I had all the ingredients on hand so this took minimal effort. They were a hit – for the eaters and the chef!

I’m not going to write all the instructions for my Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnut Minis because Pillsbury already does a great job. Instead, I’ll give you the quick run-down.

Continue reading “Food for Thought: Pizza Doughnuts??? No! Really!”

Food for Thought: Transforming Stuffing into Bite-Size Goodness

bites

So we have all survived (I mean enjoyed) Thanksgiving. The holiday season has begun and many of us have transitioned to gift buying, holiday cards, and if we are lucky…vacation planning for year-end.

The one challenge for anyone who has hosted a Thanksgiving meal now is: WHAT THE HECK DO I DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS???? We all get sick of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and more very quickly. So how do you work your way through the food without eating the same old thing? How do you transform something basic into something new and different?

I call it Leftover-palloza. Well, not really because that just sounds dumb, but I have managed to pull together a list of go-to recipes that help me take Thanksgiving leftovers into something exciting, tasty and fun, and even sometimes freezable.

One of my favorite recipes takes five minutes to prepare and makes leftover stuffing into a simply, hand-held appetizer – Homemade Stuffing Bites.

I stole this recipe idea from AllRecipes.com – one of my favorite recipe sites. You can learn how to make these great snacks from scratch here, but I will admit that I’ve never made them from scratch.  For me, the recipe is simple:

stuffing bite ingredients

  • Leftover Stuffing: about 4 cups of whatever you have on hand
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/8th of a cup of melted butter or olive oil

My stuffing has pork sausage, celery, onion and chopped apples. It’s a decent combination of savory and sweet. I mix the stuffing with the eggs and butter, than simply roll the dough into balls. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 minutes and serve with turkey gravy or cranberry sauce.

stuffing bites prebake

Simple, easy and super tasty. Enjoy your leftovers!

Kicking off football season: Tailgating food and fun

Source: http://www.nd.edu

We are a football family! Plain and simple. I grew up in Texas – home of Friday Night Lights, and Craig grew up in Illinois in the 80s. Think Walter Payton, Ditka and the SuperBowl Shuffle. We then added on a 4-year stint at Notre Dame with Fighting Irish football, and the mania only gets worse.

This year, Notre Dame kicked its season off against University of Texas.  Given where I grew up, this was a big deal for our family. Since we couldn’t go to the game, we hosted the season kick off party at our house. Think outdoor screen with projected game, food, and fun.

The best part was that the food part was inexpensive, quick, and easy.  And its something you can do as well!  If you want to host a football party, think in threes.

Quick and easy  nacho bar
Quick and easy nacho bar

1.) Texas Nacho Bar: I decided to build out a basic nacho bar with THREE core ingredients and then all the fixings (salsa, sour cream, jalapeno, tortilla chips AND Fritos). It took 15 minutes to set up, and then I just let the slow cooker finish it up.

  • Ground Beef: I simply browned 1.5 lbs of ground beef with taco seasoning, then threw it in one slow cooker. Finished this about 30 minutes before the party and left it on warm.
  • Black Beans: I threw two 15oz cans of black beans in the slow cooker with a teaspoon of garlic salt and a can of Rotel. Four hours on low, and they tasted amazing. Best part was day-after bean burritos.
  • Nacho Cheese Sauce: This was the simplest part of the process. I cubed a brick of Velveeta cheese and added a can of Rotel. Four hours on low and you have awesome cheesy goodness!
Cocktail Meatballs
Cocktail Meatballs

2.) Amazing Cocktail Meatballs: You may have noticed that I find slow cookers my best friend. This recipe is always a winner, and ironically, my husband told me about it years ago. I have found a million iterations of recipes for it online, but in essence it comes down to three ingredients.

  • Whisk together 1 bottle of Barbecue Sauce and one jar of grape jelly in a slow cooker. This time, I added a little dry mustard (maybe 1 tsp) for extra zing too.
  • Add about 1 pound of frozen meatballs to the slow cooker and stir them in the sauce.
  • Then, cook on high for about 4 hours and enjoy.

3.) Quick add-ons: To help the budget stretch, and because we had over 20 families planing to drop by, we added a few simple things to the food plan.

  • BYO… – Ultimately, we asked each family to bring their own beverages and one snack to share. For something impromptu (or even something planned), most people don’t mind this at all
  • Lemonade and Water: We had a cooler of lemonade (an inexpensive store mix) and water for everyone if they wanted it.
  • The Freggie Musts: I always include one veggie tray and some type of fruit option. Adults, and some kids, tend to nibble on the veggie tray throughout the party and the kids devoured the watermelon slices!

Overall, we entertained over 45 people (kids and adults) for under $100, and I’d say it was a success.

We get them started early...Go Irish!
We get them started early…Go Irish!